Sunday, November 28, 2010

SINT - my fave Christmas movie!

I have absolutely no pretensions to being a film critic - in cinematic terms I am like those people who say "I don't know anything about wine but I like what I like". I have never seen Gone with the wind and I didn't manage to watch the whole of Citizen Kane. I've even committed the heresy of preferring the American film The Ring to the Japanese original, Ringu. So I don't have the slightest critical credentials to boast of. I what I like.
Now that's out of the way, I just have to mention a film I saw yesterday, which I absolutely LOVED. It's SINT (Saint), by Dutch director Dick Maas. A Flemish friend of mine who knows a bit about my erratic taste in films told me about it, and from the moment I saw the trailer ( ) I was desperate to see it. Nor was I disappointed.
SINT is about Sinterklaas, better known to you and me as Santa Claus, or possibly Saint Nicholas. The story begins in 1492, with the original Bishop Nicholas revealed to be the evil head of a gang of plundering, murdering thugs. After he and his men visit a small village in the dead of winter and steal several children, the inhabitants take their revenge, setting fire to his ship and watching as Nicholas perishes in the flames. This is not the end of him, though; Sint has more lives than Freddy Krueger. Every 36 years, when the full moon falls on St.Nicholas' Eve (5th December) he returns to carry out a killing spree, murdering children and adults alike.
Fast forward to present-day Amsterdam, where the full moon is due to fall upon 5th December. Cute hero Frank and disgraced detective Goert battle to stop the latest wave of grisly murders, hampered by the fact that their appearance at many of the crime scenes puts them under suspicion.
I marvelled at the sheer outrageousness of this film. It was worth seeing it just to watch the scene in which Sinterklaas astride his traditional white horse gallops along the rooftops of Amsterdam, whilst the police give chase firing at him from the window of their police car. It's also certainly a new twist to the St.Nicholas legend to have him decapitating people with his crozier. Dick Maas, I salute you: you have one hell of an imagination!
SINT is currently in cinemas in Belgium; I hope there will be a dubbed English version in due course as it would be truly tragic to miss this film. Hell, watch it in Dutch if you have to! One word of warning: take the 12+ rating seriously. This isn't for younger kids!

Update: there is now a DVD version with English subtitles. 

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